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Chemical Peel FAQ and Patient Instructions

Today’s post will go over patient instructions both before and after your peel, plus answer the most common questions about chemical peels.

Chemical Peel Pre-care Instructions

  • Avoid using any acidic or irritating skin products, including acne medications like Ziana or Veltin, antibiotics like doxycycline, retinoids, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, products containing vitamin C, lightening agents, and exfoliants (even loofahs and coarse sponges) for a week prior to your treatment. Your medical professional will go over these medications in more detail at your consultation.

  • Avoid direct sun exposure (and tanning beds) for four weeks prior to your treatment.

  • Avoid tweezing, waxing, depilatory products and electrolysis for a week prior to your procedure, as well as Botox injections around your treatment area.

  • Reschedule your appointment if you have a skin infection or active cold sore on the day of your procedure.

  • Please arrive to your appointment with the treatment area(s) fully cleaned and free of makeup. Remove all makeup from your treatment area prior to your appointment, and avoid applying any lotions, creams, perfumes, colognes or aftershaves. Also avoid shaving the day of your treatment.

Chemical Peel Post-care Instructions

Your recovery time will vary from others based on the strength and type of your peel. Following your treatment, your skin may be red and feel tight. Any visible skin peeling will be light and can be controlled easily with a moisturizer.

The peeling will last up to five days, during which you should avoid sun exposure and excessive heat. Do NOT pick at the skin—it will peel off naturally, and doing so could cause scarring.

Also, avoid using prescription topical medications for the first 3-5 days following your procedure.

Benefits of Chemical Peels

Peels are great for improving:

  • The cell renewal factor or cell turnover rate

  • Hydration

  • Intercellular lipids & Barrier function

  • Elastin & Collagen production

Peels also reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

But some of the most rewarding results of chemical peels are the control of skin conditions like:

  • Acne

  • Hyperpigmentation

  • Clogged pores

  • Eczema

  • Dry skin

After a peel you should avoid over exposure to the sun and additional exfoliation outside of your normal skin care regimen. Peels will make the skin dryer while the top layer of your skin is sloughing off, so it is important to keep the skin hydrated.

You can see results in as little as one to six weeks and additional results with a series of chemical peels.

Why chemical peels?

Our face, hands and neck go through many changes over the years from adolescence to adulthood. Some people suffer with varying degrees of acne from mild to more extreme cases that leave facial scars.

Our skin can also change with the exposure to sun that can create damage to the skin with age spots and wrinkles. Some people also experience changes to the texture of their skin as they age and the elasticity of the skin decreases and wrinkles tend to appear.

One cosmetic option that may be beneficial to restoring the youthfulness of your skin’s appearance and decrease the appearance of scarring from acne is a chemical peel.

What is a Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel is a cosmetic treatment where a solution is applied to your face, neck or hands. The solution has enzymes that assist in exfoliating the top layer of skin so that your body and generate a new layer.

Our bodies naturally do this process anyway, just at a slower rate. The chemical peel speeds up this process and has been practiced by many cultures for thousands of years.

The clinician working with you will apply a topical solution to your skin. The different ones used are glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acid.

The session usually runs about 45 minutes to apply the solution. It then varies how long it takes for the exfoliation of the skin to occur. This can happen anywhere between 2 – 5 days.

Who can benefit from chemical peels?

There are different types of solutions based upon skin type. A chemical peel is most effective for people who have fair skin tone and lighter hair color. The session tends to be more effective for people who do not smoke.

Nicotine tends to change the cellular structure of skin. It is also a good idea to ask questions of your clinician so that you are aware of the realistic expectations of this service.

Chemical peels will not take away wrinkles or scars that are in the deeper layers of the skin.

Who should not receive a chemical peel?

There are some instances that a chemical peel is not a good idea. If you are pregnant or nursing, it is best to wait for this type of treatment. If you have an infection or active skin disease, it is not recommended. If you have been diagnosed with eczema, this treatment can be too harsh for your skin’s surface.

If you have a sunburn, it is better to wait until the burn heals before receiving a chemical peel. If you have an active outbreak of Herpes simplex 1 virus, a chemical peel is contraindicated.

Does having a chemical peel hurt?

The application of the solution to the skin’s surface sometimes has a tingling or slightly stinging feeling, but it is not painful.

After the skin “peels” or exfoliates, there may be some slight reddening and irritation to the skin as the new layer of cells form. With simple chemical peels that only affect the top layer of skin, you are able to go about your normal routine the same day. There are some rare occasions when people experience swelling or infection.

When interviewing your clinician make sure to include information about medications you may be taking as some can react with the solution of the chemical peel.

Make sure to do your own research, ask lots of questions and make an appointment when you feel comfortable that this is the best treatment for you and your individual needs.

How many chemical peels do you need?

With the vast array of skin conditions, there is no perfect peel treatment to end all skin problems. If you have been thinking that a peel treatment might be right for you, then the following are few points that you should expect…

You will need more than one. 
Many people are under the impression that receiving one chemical peel will solve their skin problem. Although with one treatment you will see results, you will need various treatments in order to significantly improve your skin.

Your prescription model
A prescription model bases your series of treatments on the skin condition that you have. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider about what is the end objective that you wish to see. With this information and an analysis of your current skin, your health care provider will determine which best combination of treatments will benefit you.

This might include chemical peels, combined with mechanical exfoliation, and a product regimen.

Patience is key
Most treatment plans will span over a few months or more depending on the patient’s skin condition. It is common that patients become frustrated mid-way through the plan. It is important to communicate this with your healthcare provider as they should document progress with follow up consultations and before and after pictures.

Whether your trying to eliminate a skin condition or just simply trying to improve your skin tone, it is important that your peel plan be customized.

Are chemical peels the right choice for you?

The only way to know for certain whether a peel is right for your skin is to meet with a trained cosmetic specialist to go over your options.

Luckily, all Peach consultations are absolutely free—making it easier than ever to start living your best life.

Oscar BuenoChemical Peel